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University of Oregon
UO Libraries

​Getting Started with Research

A guide to help with the essentials of library research

Finding Background Information

Starting research often means finding an quick overview of a topic; checking facts and data; finding background information about concepts, history, people, or events; and finding definitions of specialized terms.

This kind of information can be found in encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries.

Some of these sources are general and multidisciplinary, and some focus on a specific discipline or topic.

They can be in print in the library or available online.

Be sure to evaluate the sources you use for credibility, reliability, and validity and make sure the sources you use match the types of sources required by your instructor.